What Is Augmented Reality (AR)?
Augmented Reality (AR) – What is AR…? Hmmm? AR is otherwise known as Augmented Reality, also known as ‘That Pokemon GO one?’ AR took the world by storm when Pokemon GO was released. Everyone’s mind was blown when they saw their favorite Pokemon in front of them and were given the chance to truly catch ’em all! But before we dive straight into the whole AR deal first we need to define what AR is – what does it mean and why is it important? AR (Augmented Reality) enhances the real-world environments, objects and situations with the help of computer-generated perpetual information with multiple sensory modalities like – auditory, visual, olfactory, haptic and somatosensory; allowing the user to manipulate their surroundings. The most common example of AR tech is Snapchat. The cute filters that you use are all AR! (DECEPTION! That’s what it is! She broke my poor heart with those big eyes!) You can use AR with your mobile phones and tablets. Though, Contact Lenses that use the AR technology are in development (I can’t WAIT to try those on!) Oh, and AR smart glasses are also available! But that doesn’t mean that the AR tech is limited to only your mobile phones and tablets or smart glasses. No no nooo. There are different types of AR and these types are as follows – Recognition Based – Also known as Marker Based AR is the type of AR that provides the user with some more information about the object after it focuses on the recognition of the object. How does it do that? Well, it detects the object in front of the camera and provides information about the object on the screen. The recognition of the object is based on the ‘marker’. It then replaces the marker on the screen with a 3D version of the corresponding object. Therefore, the user can view the object in more detail and from multiple angles. While rotating the marker the user can also rotate the 3D imagery as well. This acts as a reference for the AR app running on the system. What we’ve done? Yaaas, we’ve done a couple of projects related to this! We’ve worked with various clients over the years and for some of them, we’ve developed an AR app that is based on this type. Ford – Yup! The car company. We developed an app for them that allows the user to scan a Ford vehicle using that app and then the AR provides them with the info about the car and takes them on a ride through a video about that specific vehicle. Mountain Dew – Now obviously something has to be crazy when it comes to Mountain Dew, right? That is exactly what the app allows the user to experience! Just scan a bottle of Mountain Dew and the app provides you with a cool AR game with some amazing daredevil moves! That doesn’t mean that there weren’t any challenges when it comes to developing a Recognition Based AR. I was able to get one of our engineers to share the problems that they faced while developing those apps – ‘Well, the main problem that we faced was the Gyro and the rotations… Like how to make sure that the AR is being displayed correctly and rotates accordingly to how the user moves and holds the mobile! And if the user accidentally locks the phones or if it locks automatically then how do you keep that AR in the same place so that the user won’t have to repeat the same process over and over again’ – Shahroz Location Based – Location-Based AR also known as ‘Marker-less AR’ is the type of AR which is perhaps the most popular and widely used in the industry! The reason for calling this type of AR ‘Location Based’ is because well it’s based on the location provided by the location-based apps on your mobile phone. Perhaps the most popular example of this type of AR is ‘Pokemon GO’ which uses your GPS, digital compass and then tracks your live location and provides you with a feature to have Pokemon in the real world which you can watch, fight or capture through your camera! However, unsurprisingly geo-streaming is used mostly in travel, not games. Like Uber, Google Maps, etc. How does this work for travelers? Well, the information is provided by their live location, GPS and digital compass which then predicts where the user is looking and then it provides additional information on the display screen about the objects that can be seen from your camera! What we’ve done? A lot! Yuuup. We’ve done a lot! Cash Quest GO – The app allows the user to use their geolocation, kinda like Pokemon GO, and find chests and treasures near them or go to a specific location to collect the goodies! Zombie Swarmz – This app is about zombies (woooah no $#!T Sherlock!) HEY! LET ME COMPLETE!! Ahem! So you slay zombies with your friends! You can play with your friends and one of them would be a zombie and the others would be a human so if you’re a human you can kill your zombie friend of if you’re a zombie you can turn your mates into zombies! With geolocation, you can see if there are any humans or zombies near your location and then you run towards them and either Blast the zombie into OBLIVION! Or convert them into a zombie, like yourself! iSpy – Ever thought how it would be like to know if there are any government spies around you? Well, this app does that (well, not exactly that cause the spies are players just like you but still!). So the user takes out their phone and sees how many players are near their location. And once a player gets within certain proximity both of you can use the AR guns to take the other down! Be a spy and take out the other spy! Pew pew pew! Now, our engineers did face a couple of challenges with this one. They had to make sure that the map in the game doesn’t show the wrong location or mixes it up with the player. They had to keep it live! And to have the location disappear for a while once the player was beaten! Superimposition Based – This type of AR provides an ‘alternative’ view of the object in view. This replaces the entire object or a part of the object with an augmented alternate. To explain it in a better way a doctor can use this type of AR to examine a patient with live-feed of the X-Ray of that patient in different angles. Since it can superimpose an X-Ray view to help better understand what’s wrong with the dude! Travelers can use this technology to bring ancient monuments back to life in their original glory! You can relive different eras complete with the landscapes with Superimposition AR! (woooah! :O) To give you a better example! Have you ever played an FPS game where your character can use night vision, radioactive view and infrared view? Yes? Good! All of that is based on Superimposition AR! Yuuuup. What we’ve done? Hmm… Interesting… We are currently working on a project that is based on Superimposition AR. Think of it as something that is close to the ‘Animoji App’ by Apple. But our work is much better with amazing features. I can’t go into much detail ‘cause then our clients will sue us or WORSE!! my Boss will take my PIZZA! </3 (I love my pizza!) The challenges that come with this type of AR is the face tracking. How do you make sure that the AR tracks the face of a user or multiple users? You need to make sure that there are no glitches and the whole app runs smooth as butter or cheese! (like the one that my pizza has <3) Projection Based – You can easily guess what this is about – projection! (wooooah) Yeah, it’s about light being projected onto a surface. Like in the movies when someone uses a device to project a map or something onto a surface. You can use this type of AR by touching the surface on where the light is being projected and by light I don’t mean a flashlight, no. It’s the image or software being projected to the surface with which you can interact! It is widely used to create deception when projected on objects by changing the position, orientation and the depth of an object. For example, you can use AR to see if the bed, sofa, fridge or a closet that you’re planning to buy will fit perfectly in the created space. However, my favorite type of Projection-based AR is creating 3D images in mid-air! Look it up they’ve actually done that! What we’ve done Yeaaaaaah boiiiiiiiii! We haven’t done anything related to this type YET! (heheee) But we will in the near future! So stay tuned! Challenges with AR: Like everything else, there are some challenges when it comes to developing AR and using AR. When it comes to developing an AR the major issues are limitations. One of our developers shared their experience with AR – ‘When it comes to developing an AR there’s isn’t much access provided when you use the Unity AR Kit. Look at Apple’s AR app ‘Animoji’ that’s probably the best AR app out there. Won’t go into much detail but we are working on something like that and it’s going to be so much better. Anyway, the limitations that come with the Unity AR Kit have its limitations. You can develop something with a limited amount of features with the AR Kit but in order to take it beyond you need to optimize it yourself with other software’ – Hamza Now that we know that there are limitations when it comes to developing an AR that doesn’t mean that it can’t be better. You can search online and see for yourself some of the amazing things that people have accomplished with AR. The AR market is pretty young, so there aren’t many business models through which you can be sure that it’s gonna be great! AND! There are some privacy and security concerns when it comes to AR. Imagine buying clothes online and you try it on with AR. With the lack of security, anyone can do anything with the image of you… I don’t want to get into details but yeah… A LOT OF SHIT! Other than these challenges there are some others when it comes to using AR. Remember when Pokemon GO was the hype? Everyone wanted to catch ‘em all? And people were actually walking out of their homes to play the game… Yeah, do you know how many accidents occurred ‘cause of that game? Because people were too careless and didn’t see where they were going? Nearly 150,000 traffic accidents and around 256 people lost their souls. Homes were being invaded to catch a specific Pokemon. IT WAS MADNESS!! (Madness? … THIS! IS! SPARTAAAAAA!!!) What have we done…? Ever used Apple’s ‘Animoji’ app? Where you can make your own face and then it does exactly what you do IN REAL TIME!! I know it’s great, That’s AR! It recognizes your face and through infrared rays, it traces your face movements and then adds it to the character in the app. WE are doing something like that… I can’t go into much detail (they’re threatening to eat my pizza! </3) BUT! It’s like that and more… oh ho hooo so much MORE! We’re also working on a little something that is along the lines of Pokemon GO but different in the sense that you won’t be catching any Pokemon (Sucks, I know :/) but it’s based entirely on geo-location and AR. We’ve worked with Nvidia, Mountain Dew, Ford, and other companies and have developed AR apps for them! However, these aren’t the only things that we’ve done with AR. Here are our slide decks – Take a look ^_^ https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e1zgxgpepgqcvvu/AAAL-V-a3V_rOvukxjFekTM8a/AR%20Location%20Games.pdf?dl=0 https://www.dropbox.com/sh/e1zgxgpepgqcvvu/AADE2DLQT3XPlnmvm36F_qNBa/Augmented%20Reality%20Slide%20Deck.pdf?dl=0 And THANK YOU for reading! Have a great day! – A humble employee at FRAG who just wants his pizza back :/